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Originally published March 24 2007

"Trans fat free" Girl Scout cookies still contain hydrogenated oils, trans fatty acids

by M. T. Whitney

For those who love their Thin Mints, note this: while cookies sold by the Girl Scouts have been reformulated to reduce the amount of trans fats, the cookies still contain the health-impacting fat, although levels are below the threshold that requires listing on the nutrition facts label.

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What you need to know - Conventional View

• According to the Associated Press, most cookies have trace amounts of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, a source of trans fats.

• The reformulation came in part because of new rules from the FDA that require placing a label on foods with more than a half a gram of trans fats per serving informing consumers about the substance.

• Most serving sizes for Girl Scout cookies are less than four cookies.

• "If it says zero grams but contains partially hydrogenated oil, people should know it does contain a little bit of trans fat," Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the Associated Press. "If somebody ate several servings of those foods a day, someone could consume 2 or 3 grams of trans fat, which is significant."

What you need to know - Alternative View

Statements and opinions by Mike Adams, author of Grocery Warning: How to identify and avoid dangerous food ingredients

• The Girl Scouts ignored the trans fat issue for many years, refusing to remove the unhealthful oil from their cookies. Now that the whole country is aware of the health dangers of trans fats, the Girl Scouts still doesn't eliminate the fat from their cookies, even while their food label claims zero grams. This seems blatantly deceptive and contradicts the spirit and good intentions of the Girl Scouts organization.

Bottom line

While many vendors carry products with "zero trans fats" in their foods, such as the Girl Scout cookies, that does not mean these foods are completely free of trans fats.

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